Town Square

Post a New Topic

Menlo Park Police want to know all about you!

Original post made by Martin Engel on Jul 17, 2013

It has come to my attention that the Menlo Park Police are contemplating the purchase of equipment and capacity for capturing all license plate numbers and storing them. Apparently they made a presentation to that effect to the City Council and were challenged about privacy issues by the vice-Mayor.

Here is an interesting article from CNN that addresses this issue. We are now in the throes of privacy issues as the government, at the federal, state and local levels is engaging in ever greater data collection that is highly intrusive on our privacy. Our Constitution guarantees our privacy.

We must not let government encroachment into our private lives -- for whatever reason -- change the United States into "1984."

Web Link

Comments (93)

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 17, 2013 at 6:38 pm

You and I have no expectation of privacy while we are in PUBLIC. Really it's not a difficult concept. The police aren't contemplating putting cameras in your home where you actually have an expectation of privacy.


Posted by Martin Engel, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 17, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Here's another article from CNN on the same subject:

Web Link

Should this be of no concern for us in Menlo Park? Is it OK for the police to know all our whereabouts, all time time, everywhere? If we have done nothing wrong, should the police track any of or all of us regardless? You see nothing wrong with that?

"The fourth amendment to the constitution guarantees the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and is often argued as protecting our right to privacy."

AMENDMENT IV

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

BTW, I'm uncomfortable discussing issues with anonymous shadows.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 17, 2013 at 10:09 pm

Martin:

the courts have already, repeatedly, held that no one has any expectation of privacy in public. Think about it. When you are outside of your house do you honestly think you have some kind of privacy? People have understood this for eons. You don't do things in public you don't want others to know about. It's really not that complicated. No warrant required.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 18, 2013 at 7:22 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Read the 4th Amendment carefully - "in their persons, houses, papers, and effects," - this protection does not extend to activities in public spaces.

We drive cars, cars must have a license to operate on PUBLIC roads (you do not need a auto license to operate a vehicle solely on private property) and that license is there for the very purpose of identifying each vehicle and linking it to its registered owner. Same thing with boats and airplanes. If you use public rights of way then you should expect public scrutiny.

And just look at home many crimes have been solved solely because of video surveillance - which had zero impact on the non-criminals who were also taped.


Posted by Data Collection, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 18, 2013 at 7:42 am

The question is how long that scrutiny should last Peter, and whether your expectation of privacy under the Fourth Amendment is infringed upon by the government building a database recording your movement? Mine is. It's hard to imagine the Founders, who wrote the 4th Amendment to protect themselves from the potential tyranny of government, intended to allow their every movement to be captured by the government in a database to be reviewed at the government's folly. Moreover, assuming your right, and the 4th Amendment doesn't specifically restrict this police action - the 4th Amendment certainly doesn't protect this police action, and the government can choose to restrict the police from collecting data in this manner in response to the public's privacy concerns.

Menlo Voter, it's odd how you tried to tell Martin what his expectation of privacy is on a public street.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 18, 2013 at 9:04 am

Data collection:

why is it odd?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 18, 2013 at 9:39 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"he government can choose to restrict the police from collecting data in this manner in response to the public's privacy concerns."

True but to do so would mean giving up the opportunity to solve some crimes - a tradeoff that the electorate or its representatives would need to make. Historical citizens in democracies have accepted more surveillance in return for greater safety/security.


Posted by Martin Engel, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 18, 2013 at 10:39 am

If you've never read Orwell's "1984," please read it now. If you have read it in the past, perhaps it's time to read it again in the context of the recent NSA debacles and their ripple effects around the world. Orwell, we all know, was not writing about some vague Soviet future; he was writing about modern-day governments and their "Orwellian" oppressive impact on our personal lives.

It is the standard mantra of autocratic/theocratic/dictatorial governments that their intrusion into every aspect of the personal lives of all their citizens is for the protection of their safety from external as well as internal threats. That process has to begin somewhere. And, like the proverbial frog sitting in tepid water, which slowly begins to boil and thus kills it, we also hear, and believe, the government's self-justification for all its actions, including its secrecy about these actions.

After all, it's for our own good, isn't it?

The government always knows best, right?

What could possibly go wrong?


Posted by Martin Engel, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 18, 2013 at 10:46 am

One more comment. Sometimes, even paranoids are under actually threat. My personal justification for this position is that I spend the first decade of my life in Nazi Germany. I, with my parents, were refugees from an oppressive (to put it mildly) government. I suspect that this created a life-long sensitivity to the possibility that "it" can happen again, anywhere, any time.


Posted by Bob, a resident of Woodside: other
on Jul 18, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Menlo park and Nazi Germany Really?


Posted by Godwin winner, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 18, 2013 at 1:21 pm

"Menlo park and Nazi Germany Really?"

Funny, the Germans in the early thirties were saying: "Berlin as a fascist police state? Hahahah! Really?"

This is nothing. Wait till the 24 hour drones with wall piercing radar. Web Link

All good, right?

So if this and drones are okay, where does it stop? Where DO YOU draw the line? You want Obama and H Clinton running these operations with Eric Holder? How about the Chavez brothers out of Texas, or Anthony Wiener?

Where are the libertarians, the small government guys, the 4th amendment defenders?


Posted by Godwin winner, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 18, 2013 at 1:24 pm

menlo voter likes scanners but hates red light cameras.

Give us 200 words defending that


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Bob - really? Yes, he made a good observation. He didn't compare Menlo to Nazi Germany - you did. Did you experience what Mr. Engel did?

I have friends who survived communist regimes - people of all ages - as well as aging folks who survived Nazism who get concerned over these types of crime fighting tactics due to the collection of data. I see many different sides to this, not all of them bad. I also understand the POV that being in one's car, one's "personal effects" should feel private, even though that's not exactly how the law works.

The ACLU is raising important points & I'm glad that they're doing so. Really - why would Menlo need this technology? Dropping my library books off in the middle of the night is NOT any of their business.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 18, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Dropping my library books off in the middle of the night is NOT any of their business."

No, but if someone dropped off a bomb at the library in the middle of the night wouldn't you want that person apprehended promptly?

Ask the residents of London or Boston how they feel about video surveillance. Every car that enters London is captured and stored and every face on a London street is captured and saved - that is how they capture the bus and subway bombers.


Posted by Joseph E. Davis, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Jul 18, 2013 at 1:41 pm

The government should not have a database containing the movements of private citizens who do not have outstanding warrants. To do so is unconstitutional, outrageous, and wrong.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2013 at 1:53 pm

I knew someone would respond the way that you did, Peter. Excellent point, of course. And of course, we all know how nosy England is, now don't we? I know Brits who are for it & who are against it - I don't need to ask anymore of them - I already have because I think it's both an interesting & a disturbing way to live. Ditto Bostonians - the opinions are varied, as is the populace. This isn't London - why would Menlo need this technology - or rather, how can they totally justify having this technology? That'll be interesting to hear about.

Mr. Davis - you & I often don't agree at all, as much as I respect your thoughtful opinions. But every now & then, we agree on a big issue & this is one of those times. It's not that I have anything to hide, but I have enough experience w/law enforcement, especially local, to know that they aren't always trustworthy.


Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2013 at 2:26 pm

I wonder how many crimes as a percentage of total crimes are committed by individuals who, at the time, did not have any outstanding warrants? Sorry, Hmmm, you and I tend to agree a lot, but not on this issue. I can't imagine how hard it must be for those in law enforcement who are dedicated to public safety to, on the one hand, have their ability to do their job constantly limited by paranoid reactions from the public, and on the other, to be frequently criticized for not having "done enough" to prevent crimes when they occur.


Posted by gina, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Weekend Acres
on Jul 18, 2013 at 2:50 pm

from the moment you leave your house you have no privacy at all. so get over it. what's one more tactic of privacy invasion like license plate readers. if you have nothing to hide why should one care if your being watched every where you go. get used it. big brother is here to stay.


Posted by Robert Cronin, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 18, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Worried about license plate readers? Ride your bike.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 18, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Our license plates are captured and stored every time we use a FasTrak lane on a bay area bridge - that information could clearly be misused by divorce lawyers etc but never has.

I prefer the added value of this information for more effective law enforcement coupled with diligent oversight that ensures it is not misused. An example is the criminal records data base which has been very well protected from abuse.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 18, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Godwin:

you need to work on your reading comprehension. I never said I like scanners. I said we have no expectation of privacy when we're in public.

I don't like red light cameras because in many cases they violate California law, but the judicial system turns a blind eye unless one is willing to do some homework and demand the law be followed. I also don't like the in this case because it is clear the are there simply to generate revenue. Why else would they put a red light camera at an intersection with no history of red light accidents if not to simply generate revenue?


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2013 at 4:08 pm

Peter, the bigger issue is the storage & the access & the private companies involved. Not everyone uses FasTrak. I get that driving is a privilege, not a right, as well as privacy outside of the home can't be expected. But none of that means that the use of these technologies doesn't need to be thoughtfully, carefully implemented, which isn't happening evenly the way that it should. There's a lot that still needs to be figured out. Why Menlo thinks that they need this is puzzling. When/how I return that library book is no one's business except the library's & mine.

Who R - did you read that article? You sound like you did. I don't care how hard it is for LEOs to deal w/this - that's their bailiwick, not mine. Mine is protecting myself & imo, keeping these records works against me, not for me. From the article: "License plate readers would pose few civil liberties risks if they only checked plates against hot lists and these hot lists were implemented soundly. But these systems are configured to store the photograph, the license plate number, and the date, time, and location where all vehicles are seen — not just the data of vehicles that generate hits," the ACLU report said. Here's another telling quote: "The newspaper found that the police department's plate readers yielded hits of fewer than 1% of the 805,000 plate scans made in June 2012, according to the ACLU. A hit means that a read matched a listing in a database of vehicles law enforcement was interested in, for whatever reason. They might be reported stolen, for instance, or belonging to missing persons."

Here's another thought - & I say this as a crime "victim" - survivor, really. From my POV as a victim/survivor, catching the bad guy isn't the be all/end all that it is in popular culture. I don't say that casually, either. I know it's LE's job to do so, & I support that in a manner that doesn't erode the quality of my life. These technologies need to be implemented so that they're not tracking the innocent public for time immemorial.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 18, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The purpose of having locks on your doors is not to keep people out (since they could easily break a window if they really want to get in) but to encourage would be burglars to look elsewhere. If MP has a good license recognition system and other communities do not where do you think the bad guys will go? Or if MP doesn't then where will they go?


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Good questions, Peter. Are the bad guys smart/alert enough to know when Menlo gets the readers?


Posted by Godwin winner, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 19, 2013 at 7:43 am

Menlo Voter: the "M voter and license plate readers" moniker in the camera thread was to attract your attention amid your hypocrisy. It worked.

So: no expectation of privacy? Scanners and cameras are essentially the same thing. Try and slice that fine and explain the difference. There isn't one.

Peter: Name the last time the library was bombed. Was the perpetrator caught thru traditional means, or were city wide spying devices require?

Any other Menlo Park bombings I missed?

We had a Godwin winner, now Peter gets the Slippery Slope ut Reductio ad Absurdum prize.

Bombing the library?!?!!?!?

Winner!


Posted by OldPoster, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 19, 2013 at 8:14 am

Who cares,and who has what to hide? Why is everyone so paranoid? Look what camera's did for/in Boston. (I honestly do not know if that was private camera footage).

[Portion removed]

But really people lighten up. We all want security, to be safe in our neighborhoods, and the authorities need all the help they can get. Surveillance is nothing new, technology has just made it that much easier.


Posted by Hopey Changey, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 19, 2013 at 8:31 am

Sieg Heil!


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 19, 2013 at 8:43 am

Godwin:

There is a difference between scanners and red light cameras and I think you know it or you are being intentionally obtuse.

Let me make it simple for you. Red light cameras are used to issue citations. In the case of Menlo Park, due to the language of the contract with Redflex those tickets are illegal.

If Menlo Park was simply photographing intersections and not issuing illegal citations I couldn't care less. Just like I don't care about license plate scanners.

Get it now?


Posted by Godwin winner, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 19, 2013 at 8:56 am

I get it: hypocrisy. No need to add anything - agree to disagree about the 4th amendment: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons ... and effects, against unreasonable searches ... shall not be violated..."


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 19, 2013 at 9:01 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Goodwin reader exemplifies the not invented here attitude that leads to failure. Just because there has not been a X event in Menlo Park does not mean that X could not happen. And if other more thoughtful communities adopt certain crime prevention methods that does not mean that those crimes will not occur in Menlo Park - in fact if other communities do a better job of discouraging criminals then the criminals will be differentially attracted to Menlo Park.

Goodwin reader - shut the barn door behind you after your horse has escaped.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 19, 2013 at 9:14 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I get it: hypocrisy."

No, you don't get it. Menlo Voter is demonstrating his ability to think wisely about two different situations. Try it, you might like it.


Posted by Godwin winner, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 19, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Shut the barn door after?????? Peter thinks we should gear our entire city up to police state status to prevent his slippery slope slide to a a series of bombings.

For Peter, being awarded the Slippery Slope ut Reductio ad Absurdum prize isn't enough.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Jul 19, 2013 at 12:07 pm

It's really not hard to understand the difference between the red light cameras & the scanners. Having opinions on both is realistic, & not having the same opinion on both doesn't make it hypocrisy.

I think that the scanners give rise to more complicated philosophical & practical issues & need to be regulated. The Fourth Amendment argument makes it more interesting & complicated, imo. But the technology is here to stay, so if it's to be used as a tool, we must be diligent in demanding that it's use is limited but still effective for its intentions. That's the point of the article.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 19, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Reasonable surveillance to permit post incident review and to identify individuals suspected of a particular crime is a wise and prudent policy and will also contribute to the prevention of crime.

Godwin reader - take the locks off the door to your house and post a notice here with your address that you have done so and let's see how long it takes before you have a burglary.


Posted by Dave, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 19, 2013 at 12:27 pm

I just want to set the record straight- I watched the meeting and vice mayor Mueller was not making this an all or nothing proposition. He was not opposed to the use of license plate readers under the following conditions:
1) There was a strict privacy policy
2) The data would be purged within a reasonable amount of time.
and
3) The data could not be provided to a 3rd party.

Mueller expressed concern about the 4th ammendment and residents privacy rights. His stance seems more than reasonable to me and I appreciate that he raised these issues.


Posted by Easy Does It, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 19, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Why would a tranquil suburb of only 30,000 people even consider such a thing? It is surveillance, which is altogether different from merely being out in public. Ask the former East Germans.
Ben Franklin said it well: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 19, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Godwin:

There is no hypocrisy in my opinion and position. [Portion removed; don't attack other posters.]


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 19, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Okay, since the editors have seen fit to delete my comment regarding the possible IQ of Godwin. Let's see if I can put it another way. If you don't understand that my position isn't hypocritical you are either trolling or you need to work on your knowledge of the law. There's no fourth amendment violation in either red light cameras or license scanners. I don't object to red light cameras on fourth amendment grounds. There's no hypocrisy there.


Posted by Martin Engel, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 19, 2013 at 1:15 pm

1.Could we all agree that our city administration has a remarkable and persistent ability for lavishly spending OPM (other peoples' money)? Could this "new and improved" police upgrade be an example of not knowing when to say, "enough?"

2.Vice-Mayor Mueller's issues are exactly the ones that I would raise and that I commend him for. I would only add the cost/benefit issue. (It's what triggered this discussion.)

3.And, a note of thanks to "Easy Does It" and his Benjamin Franklin quotation, which bears repeating here: "Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

4.I find it surprising and remarkable that so many of us are so free with our precious liberties and rights as to willingly relinquish them for those intrusive government activities that, upon examination, have produced so little in assuring us greater safety.


Posted by Morris Brown, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 19, 2013 at 1:41 pm

We sure as hell don't need this in Menlo Park.

See:

Web Link

Really too bad that then Senator Simitian's bill failed to become law.

I recall a hearing at the State level where the Highway Patrol was asked about data they collected and the committee was assured that it was expunged after a short period (either 30 or 60 days).


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 19, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" those intrusive government activities that, upon examination, have produced so little in assuring us greater safety."

Interesting assertion - any facts to back it up? My sense is that proactive surveillance has stopped numerous terrorist attacks and has resulted in the apprehension of many criminals from bombers to bank robbers.


Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on Jul 19, 2013 at 2:05 pm

I would like to direct the attention of those posters who are opposed to allowing law enforcement to employ methods of observation aimed at preventing lawlessness to consider the last three nights in Oakland. Regardless of whether or not you have an opinion in the Florida issue, consider the fact that night after night, people, likely most of which have no outstanding warrants, feel perfectly free to vandalize downtown businesses--and the only thing OPD can do, ask peole with cell phone videos to send them in so they can identify the perps. Give me a break, if that was happening in downtown MP, the good citizens would be demanding the police take action to prevent it.


Posted by Morris Brown, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 19, 2013 at 2:06 pm

The link to an article in the SF Cronicle, which I posted just above will not allow you to read the full article, unless you are a subscriber to the Chronicle.

However, you can read the full article by doing a Google search on:

License plate readers tracking cars

and from the search results, follow that link to the full article. (so goes the ways of the Internet... sorry I should have noted this in my previous post .. morris)


Posted by Martin Engel, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 19, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Here is a full copy of the article identified by Morris:

Web Link

And here's an article about a study that addresses this issue head-on: (For the record, my wife and I are members of the ACLU.)

Web Link

Here's the ACLU study itself as a PDF file:

Web Link


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 19, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Mr. Engel:

while I understand where you're coming from given your history, comparisons to Nazi Germany are simply not in line with the facts. Those were very different times with very different technologies. In this case the horse has long ago left the barn and in reality we have far more to fear from the PRIVATE enterprises which collect and SELL our data than we have to worry about from the government. Google, Yahoo, Facebook, etc. Frankly one has to wonder what data the Almanac is collecting and selling.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Jul 19, 2013 at 8:48 pm

WhoRUPeople - we don't need to point out that downtown Menlo isn't much like Oakland ;-)

I'm appreciating this thread & the various POVs. It's helpful to read these links & ponder these important issues. Thank you, everyone.


Posted by Carrie, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 20, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Will it be able to check my balance on my checking account and see if I may be overdrawn in the near future.

Scarey.


Posted by James Madison, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 20, 2013 at 4:35 pm

If we are involved in a traffic violation or an accident, yes, as at present. Otherwise, no. The proposed purchase is a device for evading the restrictionQZYvF that neither the police nor anyone else can go to the DMV and get a run of the plates on every registered owner whose listed address is in Menlo Park.


Posted by REAL ly !?! , a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 21, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Okay... Menlo Park Residents,

If this just happens to become a "reality"

Ask yourselves this

Who is monitoring the monitors that will be monitoring all of us?






Posted by Hamp fam, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 22, 2013 at 9:21 am

Peter: I missed your answer to the question posed to you above about the bombings of public buildings in Menlo, where are your examples? Lost down the slippery slope?

Locked doors? I'm in Lindenwood also, don't lock all the doors unless I'm gone overnight (and I remember to do so); I know for a fact that some of my neighbors don't lock their doors either, that includes some friends across in the west part of town.

As for the misuse and abuse of tax-funded government databases to illegally obtain private information pertaining to innocent citizens... the number one set of abusers? (think the above question: "Who is monitoring the monitors that will be monitoring all of us?"

You know who it is...

wait for it....

YES! you are correct!

The police are the most habitual abusers of private data collected for "purely" (!) law enforcement purposes. Google 'police abuse of privacy records' or something similar, and you get lots of hits, like this one Web Link Top 10 List Of Police Database Abuses Law enforcement officers are supposed to protect and serve,but corrupt cops misuse police databases to get dates and even plan murders.

It's old, there are far more current of course, but I use this for local flavor - check out the last example, Atherton! We've hit the big time!

No worries, it'll be Menlo, not Atherton with another new database of citizens' private information.

What could possibly go wrong?

I'm sending a donation to the ACLU today.

Ben was correct: "Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

Those that do not vigorously defend the Constitution, in my opinion, are not patriotic.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 22, 2013 at 9:31 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Those that do not vigorously defend the Constitution, in my opinion, are not patriotic."

People who hide in the shadows simply don't have the credentials to question my patriotism and service to my country.


Posted by Contrast and Compare, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jul 22, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Let's play 'Contrast and Compare' the ever popular game show:

a) "Those that do not vigorously defend the Constitution, in my opinion, are not patriotic."

- or -

b) "People who hide in the shadows simply don't have the credentials to question my patriotism and service to my country."

Easy answer. Despite the bloviating deviation, and his getting testy as the years advance (and posts get edited and removed,) Peter cannot defend his non-defense of the Constitution by simply posting his resume. Correct answer is (a.)

Thanks for playing! Stay tuned for our next episode of contrast and compare, where our hosts highlight the GOP Senators who voted against food stamps, and we compare that to the very same 14 GOP senators and the 7.2 million taxpayer dollars they collected in corporate welfare agriculture subsidies! Stay tuned! Don't forget to play our home version of Compare and Contrast; the new version includes new categories such as John Boenher's statement yesterday that "Congress 'ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal'" compared to his 39 failed Obamacare repeal attempts. John, are you sure you want that comparison?

And the crowd says "FAIL"! thanks for playing!

Now all sing along as we run the credits: "Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety"




Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 22, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Simply minded approaches to the balance between individual freedom and collective security are just that - simplistic.

The absolutist would have every person carrying a machine gun and no one in jail ( as jail restricts an individuals freedom).

People who hide in the shadows simply don't have the credentials to question my patriotism and service to my country. Nor obviously the intelligence to post a cogent argument.



Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2013 at 1:54 pm

@ Hamp Fan & Contrast & Compare--at the risk of having my comments deleted (and if I really were to post what I want to post here, believe me they would be rightfully deleted), I have to say that of all the posts in all the forums I have participated in, the two of you just won the prize for the dumbest, most non-productive, most off-topic comments I have EVER read. Some people should not have access to public media. I won't speak for Peter, he doesn't need me to, nor, am sure, would a person of his character want me to, but I will say, as a veteran (doubt either of you are), and person who has a long record of defending the constitution (because I actually have read and understand it)and taken up arms to protect it, the two of you a great examples of why its a damn good thing we don't eat our young.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2013 at 2:03 pm

I'm glad that at least one person on the MP City Council is thoughtfully examining this "opportunity." Thanks, Dave, for posting what you did. It would be inconvenient for us to steer our spending away from Menlo, but it's very doable if Menlo starts implementing unbridled technology that violates privacy. It's also too bad that they lost so many good officers in recent years.


Posted by Contrast and Compare, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jul 22, 2013 at 2:04 pm

So testy! Quick too! Just mere minutes. Hamp fam struck a chord and I'm happy to hum along! La-te-dah! I noticed neither Pete nor whoRu touched the "who monitors the monitors" and the evidence of police corruption of privacy databases!

Can't post a cogent argument, Pete? Funny boy! We both did. So sorry you can't see it, so I'll repeat it: "Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety"

Want me to repeat it more slowly, for your cognition?

Didn't think so.

See ya, wouldn't wanna....., heck, you know the rest. My only regret? wish I could donate today to the ACLU like Hamp Fam has. Well done, Hamp!


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 22, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety"

Quoting a great patriot doe not make the anonymous poster either intelligent, or brave, or patriotic.

Just what exactly have YOU done for your country? Nothing is probably the best answer.


Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2013 at 2:15 pm

I'm not really inclined to get in to a battle of wits with C&C (the old gun to a knife fit adage applies), but I do want to be polite and respond to the "who monitors who" comment. My answer is, frankly I don't give a damn because I have nothing to hide. BTW C&C, cogent is an pretty fancy word for a 16 year old isn't it?


Posted by Contrast and Compare, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jul 22, 2013 at 2:24 pm

awww, boys, that the best ya got? One got drafted and the other doesn't care?

"Father Mulcahy: He was drafted."

Seriously, if your argument is "I'm doing nothing wrong so I have nothing to hide" and therefore the government can do whatever they want, then yes, we have nothing more to discuss. We will never agree on civil liberties. Doubt we will agree on many civil rights issues either.

Bet that you agree with the those tea bagging 'patriots' about how the civil rights act went too far in forcing private businesses to serve anyone, and everyone, amirite?

Oh, and kids in hoodies are asking for it, correct?


Posted by Compare and contrast, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jul 22, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Pete: I did not quote a "great patriot doe". Nor a great patriot buck, for that matter.

Sorry fellas, I gotta get back to work. Not living off the trusts you guys are. Been fun!


Posted by debate school, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 22, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Compare and Contrast: as much fun as you are having both deflecting their taunts and launching your own, mockery never wins a debate. You have the tools to do so, but your ego and style will never work. Stick with what works - easy choice:

a. "Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety"

....versus

b. "I don't give a damn because I have nothing to hide"

Any American with a modicum of thought knows the right answer. Give it a rest.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 22, 2013 at 7:40 pm

Editors:

you are very quick to jump on people that post under multiple names. It is clear that is what is happening here yet you ignore it. I can only say whiskey tango foxtrot?


Posted by Terrie J, a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Jul 23, 2013 at 11:54 am

Mnelo Voter, no way Peter would post under duplicate names a silly thought like "I don't give a damn because I have nothing to hide"

That (lack of) thinking later leads to Niemöller style regrets such as "first, they came for the communists"

I, too, choose the constitutionally correct choice "Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety"


Posted by George Santayana, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jul 23, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Ya know, the National Socialist German Workers Party was established to help the people and fight communism. They were the good guys! How quickly some of us forget, even though we live among survivors of that particular scourge.

Google "IBM" and "Nazi" to learn more about the role that information technology played in facilitating the Final Solution. The founders of our country built many safeguards into our Constitution and Bill of Rights because they knew how easy it was for government, with only the best intentions, to ruin lives of innocent people.

May I add to the quotations already cited: "Power corrupts...and absolute power corrupts absolutely."


Posted by Donald, a resident of another community
on Jul 23, 2013 at 8:46 pm

We seem to have wandered off the subject here, and into personal defamation. The original article had to do with privacy issues on public highways. Similar arguments are being raised regarding the use of data from "black boxes" in cars. These event data recorders can tell vehicle speed, seat belt use, throttle and brake actuation, turn signal status, etc. The MA Lt Gov claimed that he was driving 55 mph with his seat belt fastened but his car said he was going over 100 mph with no seat belt when he crashed. Should we protect the "privacy" of dangerous liars on our public roads or should we use every means available to enforce the laws and keep people safe?


Posted by Trump, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 24, 2013 at 9:31 am

Donald: "every means available to enforce the laws" which means Donald has zero limits - you carry a national ID, sensors implanted in your body, perhaps monitoring your brain waves, seeking 'dangerous' thoughts. At least Donald admits he has no limits in giving up YOUR privacy. Whatta guy!

A wise and prescient Ben answered the [portion removed -- please make your points without insulting other posters] Donalds, hundreds of years ago: "Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety"

Donald has to reach across the country for a [portion removed] example about a driver. We don't have to reach that far to find databases of private information abused by those with power or access. Menlo cops checking up on girls they are interested in/stalking, or the APD chief, for example.


Posted by Donald, a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2013 at 9:54 am

If you want an example closer to home, how about the unlicensed driver on meth who admits to speeding and striking a boy in a bike lane in Palo Alto? Although he admitted to speeding the cops had no evidence to prove it so the DA won't charge him with it. If they could use his black box then it would be simple.

This is a matter of using technology to enforce existing laws in an era of very limited police resources. A crash investigator can spend a lot of time and money trying to reconstruct a scene and determine a vehicle's speed, and even then they are not very accurate. Why not save all that time and money and just ask the car for an accurate and reliable answer?

I don't consider this a matter of essential liberty. It has long been clear that driving behavior is public, not private. If you don't want to be tracked, don't drive. You are free to make other choices.


Posted by resident, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 24, 2013 at 10:11 am

I don't think old Ben drove a car or had that in mind when he spoke. Driving is a privilege, not a right.


Posted by Terrie J, a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Jul 24, 2013 at 10:13 am

Donald, not a good example for your case of giving up all privacy to the government. Your example: driver was already apprehended and tested, discovering the meth in his bloodstream, without intrusive government giving away all our rights. You are better off using Peter's example of unidentified library bombers.

Not.

Looks like Donald continues to admit as the previous poster said, Donald has no limits for big government intrusion, having cameras on every road at all times. Who protects this information?

Joseph was correct above - "The government should not have a database containing the movements of private citizens who do not have outstanding warrants. To do so is unconstitutional, outrageous, and wrong."

You may do as you wish with your rights, but do not give away MY RIGHT TO PRIVACY and protection from big government snoops.


Posted by I'm just saying..., a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 24, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Here's some news on the subject of "License Plate Readers/Scanners" which I believe this post is about...
Posted this morning, Wednesday July 23, 2013.

"Palo Alto police begin using license-plate reader
Reader photographs every license plate in the path of a patrol car, adds to database"

Web Link

According to a recent article in The Daily Post dated Monday`, July 22, 2013--- The Menlo Park Police Chief, Robert Jonsen commented that he had not heard from the public/residents of Menlo Park on this subject.

Perhaps you are not being heard?!?
Or
Speaking loud enough?



Posted by Donald, a resident of Woodside High School
on Jul 24, 2013 at 3:26 pm

To repeat what was said over and over above, you have no right to privacy when you are in public.


Posted by newbie, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 24, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Can someone please quote the part of the Constitution that guarantees the right to privacy or give me a link to find it? If this data base is unconstitutional, what part of the constitution does it violate? It might be wrong even if it is constitutionally ok, but I want to know whether the people complaining above are correct.


Posted by Of Course, a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2013 at 3:59 pm

"You can fool some people sometimes,

But you can't fool all the people all the time.

So now we see the light (what you gonna do?),

We gonna stand up for our rights!" --Bob Marley


Posted by Privacy, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 24, 2013 at 4:15 pm

@newbie, the Supreme Court has rather consistently interpreted the "due process" provision of the 14th amendment to confer privacy rights since the 1960s. The first case was Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), and opined both that the right to privacy was found in the "penumbras" of various provisions in the Bill of Rights and that the "liberty" protected by the "due process" provision included individual privacy.


Posted by Edward Snowdenjob, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Weekend Acres
on Jul 24, 2013 at 4:29 pm

"you have no right to privacy when you are in public" Bullbleep. And my privacy is further eroded when big government collects and KEEPS FOREVER a database of information on your private comings and goings, without cause or due process.

What happens to data the government thinks is secure?

Ask Edward Snowden. A low level CONTRACTOR. Are you going to tell me that Menlo will do a better job of protecting private data than the defense department?

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2013 at 4:39 pm

Calif. state rights & privacy: Web Link


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 24, 2013 at 6:30 pm

You can't just look at the Constitution. You have to look at the legal interpretations that have gone on since it was written. The courts have repeatedly held that no one has any expectation of privacy while in public. No "bullbleep."


Posted by I'm Just saying..., a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 24, 2013 at 7:54 pm

When the "Fit hits the Shan" and you know it will, here is some advice, Duck!


Posted by Menlo Shopper, a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jul 24, 2013 at 8:41 pm

I think there are semantic problems here with the word "privacy". It is clear that travel in public does not allow you to be anonymous. You can be stopped and asked for ID whether you are driving a car registered and licensed with the state or whether you are walking. There are also codes of conduct for public places that are enforced by law. You should have no expectation that your presence in a public location will be secret in any way. You DO have the right to keep your vehicle and body free from search without cause. You cannot be required to say why you are travelling. Those aspects of privacy are different than the anonymity aspect.


Posted by Privacy, a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 24, 2013 at 8:54 pm

@Menlo Shopper: "You can be stopped and asked for ID whether you are driving a car registered and licensed with the state or whether you are walking."

Not unless a police officer has probable cause or reasonable suspicion of a crime.

@Menlo Voter: "The courts have repeatedly held that no one has any expectation of privacy while in public."

Depends on how you define privacy. The dividing line has been, again, rather consistently, whether the governmental agency is observing what a normal person walking down the street can see, or using enhanced techniques.

Clearly, the internet age is creating new cases of information gathering that were not contemplated when various cases were decided, cases that continue to be cited to justify these more invasive measures. This will all play out in courts over the years to come.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2013 at 9:45 pm

One of the other problems w/these readers is that it's not merely recording license plates - they're recording more than that. It's wrong & needs to be legislated.


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 25, 2013 at 7:24 am

"This will all play out in courts over the years to come."

Agreed


Posted by ann haley, a resident of another community
on Jul 25, 2013 at 10:15 am

Surveillance worked beautifully in Boston,and even thwarted further attempts to bomb eastern cities. I'd think twice before removing surveillance altogether.


Posted by where is the LINE, a resident of another community
on Jul 25, 2013 at 11:39 am

"Surveillance worked beautifully in Boston"

Those were mostly cell phone video. Not in a massive big government database that lasts forever.

Funny thing about those that think bi intrusive governments get to get away with all this - they never offer an explanation of what is "too much".

Is it too much if the government points a camera from the street, points it onto your 'property'? Drones flying overhead and recording everything, including your back yard? Wall piercing vision devices on a drone?

If you think massive collection and storage of license plate data is okay, then please tell me where you draw the line.

Pending your rational answer, I'll stick with the ACLU.


Posted by Donald, a resident of another community
on Jul 25, 2013 at 3:29 pm

It is clear that collecting the information is allowed. I draw the line at the long-term storage of it. That would eliminate most of the potential for abuse.


Posted by Carlos Danger, a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Unfortunately the police already know about me. Nancy Pelosi really was hard on me but she gave Bill Clinton a pass. I guess I was not high up enough in the Democratic Party.


Posted by Carlos GOP danger of cheating family values, a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Jul 26, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Carlos Danger! Yay, good to hear from you! S'up, buddy?

Is that your cover for your real name, David Vitter,senator R-LA, who ran on a family values platform but used his family money on hookers and adult size diapers?

Didn't you live in the C Street House with Mark Sanford, the Appalachian/Argentinian Trail cheater? You guys should team up with all the republican cheaters like Sanford that voted to impeach Clinton, like Newt Gingrich who was cheating on his 2nd wife. She was the one he left his cancer ridden first wife for! Of course, now Family Values Newt is with the third,! What a family! Larry (bathroom stall) Craig R -ID, also voted with you against Clinton, but we now know Larry wasn't cheating with women, though, don't we?

Web Link

Web Link


Posted by New York Times Reader, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 28, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Today's New York Times Sunday Review has an interesting article on Carlos Danger

Web Link

Enjoy


Posted by youtube viewer, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 28, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Carlos, thanks for bringing up Clinton. Did your buddy, Senator Larry Craig R - ID, really say this about President Clinton?

"Its a, 'Bad boy, Bill Clinton. You're a naughty boy,'" Craig said. "The American people already know that Bill Clinton is a bad boy, a naughty boy. I'm going to speak out for the citizens of my state, who in the majority think that Bill Clinton is probably even a nasty, bad, naughty boy."

Web Link

Haven''t heard much from your buddy since your bathroom incident. Naughty, bad boy!


Posted by Really?!, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 31, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Oh no,
Without question, absolutely no chance anything at all will go haywire or
s.n.a.f.u. here...

Right.


Posted by Martin Engel, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Aug 3, 2013 at 9:30 am

Web Link

I call your attention to this article about Orwell's "1984." You will find reference to Orwell's book at the beginnings of this discussion which, like most others, tends to disintegrate into snarky ad hominem nit-picking.

Loss of privacy: As Abbott and Costello put it so well many years ago and in a different context, "Step by step, closer and closer. . . . "


Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community
on Aug 4, 2013 at 9:17 am

Lots of outrage here. Where is the outrage about the tracking that BUSINESS and other commercial entities do, and have done for years, on your computers?

Your every keystroke is already monitored. That is how those totally targeted ads suddenly pop up -- a key word in an email, or your search for a product or even opening certain news stories, will do it.

You are all giving up your identity every day. It is totally naive to ignore it.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 4, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

There is no doubt that surveillance information can be abused but the answer is not to prohibit all surveillance but to make sure that there are publicly acceptable rules for controlling what information is captured, how long it is stored and who has access to it.

Zero surveillance would be very unwise.


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Scott’s Seafood Mountain View to close, reopen as new concept
By Elena Kadvany | 8 comments | 3,090 views

Who Says Kids Don’t Eat Vegetables?
By Laura Stec | 7 comments | 1,656 views

Breastfeeding Tips
By Jessica T | 11 comments | 1,525 views

Community Service Helps You, Too
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 1 comment | 1,083 views

Having A Hard Time Getting Your Child To Dive Into Their Summer Reading? Take A Trip To Bookopolis…
By Erin Glanville | 0 comments | 525 views